Category Archives: Social Security

Children’s Stake in Social Security

Source: Joni Lavery and Virginia P. Reno, National Academy of Social Insurance, no. 27, February 2008

From the press release:
While Social Security is best known as a retirement program, it is also irreplaceable life and disability insurance for young families, according to a new report released today by the non-partisan National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI).

About 6.5 million children under 18 – or nearly 9 percent of all U.S. children – received part of their family income from Social Security in 2005. They include 3.1 million children who themselves receive benefits as dependents of a deceased, disabled, or retired parent, and an estimated 3.4 million other children who do not themselves receive Social Security, but live with relatives who do.
See also:
Fact Sheet

REPORT: Social Security: An Essential Asset and Insurance Protection for All

Source: National Academy of Social Insurance, February 2008

From press release:
For most Americans, the value of their Social Security is the biggest accumulation of dollars they will take into retirement. In fact, for two-thirds of recipients over the age of 65, Social Security is more than half of their income during retirement, according to a new report released today by the non-partisan National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI).

The report, Social Security: An Essential Asset and Insurance Protection for All, details Social Security’s vital role in safeguarding Americans families and retirees, with a particular focus on groups at high risk of having inadequate incomes – older women, African American families, and the Latino community. The report synthesizes findings from research and outreach activities by twelve organizations funded by the Ford Foundation.

Shrinking Boomer Social Security Retirement Benefits

Source: American Bar Association – Section of Taxation News Quarterly (via SSRN)

In 2008, the oldest of 78 million baby boomers will celebrate their 62nd birthdays. Before they blow out their birthday candles, they will have considered and likely decided whether to elect to take early Social Security retirement benefits (SSRBs). Recent and evolving changes in the normal retirement age under Social Security, Medicare premiums and increased exposure to income tax costs have reduced the net cash flow many senior boomers will enjoy from SSRBs. Because of the overall lack of transparency in the Social Security benefits formula and the complex interplay of continued work, Medicare, taxes, and the various timing-options, many boomers are unable to make informed decisions about critical retirement matters. This article presents these issues to assist in making informed retirement decisions.

Social Security: Issues Regarding the Coverage of Public Employees

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

There are no easy answers to the difficulties of equalizing Social Security’s treatment of covered workers and noncovered public employees. About one-fourth of public employees primarily state and local government workers are not covered by Social Security and do not pay Social Security taxes on their government earnings. Nevertheless, these workers may still be eligible for Social Security benefits through their spouses’ or their own earnings from other covered employment. To address concerns with how noncovered workers are treated compared with covered workers, Social Security has provisions in place to take noncovered employment into account and reduce Social Security benefits for public employees.


Issue Brief No. 2: Social Security Reform: A Framework for Analysis

Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Issue Brief no. 2, 2007

Treasury today released the second in a series of papers on Social Security. Issue brief No. 2 entitled “Social Security Reform: A Framework for Analysis” discusses a top-down framework for designing and evaluating Social Security reform plans.
See also:
Issue Brief No. 1 Social Security Reform: The Nature of the Problem

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Account for Half of Federal Spending

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Press release, CB07-141, October 9, 2007

From the press release:
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid accounted for more than $1 trillion of the $2.3 trillion the federal government spent in 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which publishes the only consolidated source of data on the geographic distribution of federal expenditures.

The Consolidated Federal Funds Report for Fiscal Year 2005 is a presentation of data on most domestic spending by the federal government for state and county areas of the United States, including the District of Columbia and U.S. outlying areas. The data include expenditures for the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

The report covers direct payments, grants, procurement awards, and salaries and wages by federal agency and program. The report does not include expenditures for selected intelligence agencies, international payments, foreign aid and interest on the federal debt.
Direct to Detailed Tables
Federal Aid to States for Fiscal Year 2005

Fast Facts: About Social Security, 2007

Source: Angela Harper, Social Security Administration, SSA Publication No. 13-11785, September 2007

Fast Facts & Figures answers the most frequently asked questions about the programs SSA administers. It highlights basic program data for the Social Security (retirement, survivors, and disability) and Supplemental Security Income programs.

See also:
Annual Statistical Supplement, 2007 (forthcoming December 2007)

Why the 2005 Social Security Initiative Failed, and What it Means for the Future

Source: William A. Galston, Brookings Institution and NYU John Brademas Center, Legislating for the Future Project, September 21, 2007

From the summary:
Within days after the election, President Bush made it clear that he did not intend to play it safe on Social Security reform and other controversial issues. In a post-election press conference, he asserted, “I earned capital in this campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.” He was as good as his word. By mid-January of 2005, the White House had launched a huge initiative, directed by Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman, to mobilize public opinion and build public support for Social Security reform and other key presidential proposals.

The President followed up two weeks later, placing a lengthy discussion of Social Security at the heart of his 2005 State of the Union address. After citing the fiscal and demographic pressures moving the system toward eventual bankruptcy, he listed some basic principles and then reached the nub of the matter: “As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers. And the best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal retirement accounts.” This approach, the President argued, would offer younger workers a “better deal”: The rate of return would be higher than in the traditional system; the accumulation could be passed on to children and grandchildren; and “best of all, the money in this account is yours, and the government can never take it away.”

By early summer the initiative was on life support, with congressional Democrats uniformly opposed and Republicans in disarray. After Hurricane Katrina inundated what remained of the President’s support, congressional leaders quietly pulled the plug. By October, even the President had to acknowledge that his effort had failed.

Treasury Releases First in Series of Papers on Social Security Reform

Source: U.S. Treasury, September 24, 2007

The Treasury released today the first in a series of issue briefs that will discuss Social Security reform, focusing on the nature of the problem and those aspects of reform that have broad support.
Paulson Statement on Social Security Reform, September 24, 2007
Issue Brief No. 1 Social Security Reform: The Nature of the Problem, September 24, 2007

Reasons Social Security Privatization Particularly Harms Women

Source: National Partnership for Women and Families

Social Security was established nearly 70 years ago to provide a critical safety net to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Now, citing a fictitious “crisis,” President Bush wants to overhaul Social Security and change the way benefits are calculated and distributed, including having workers invest part of their contributions into private accounts. These proposals will severely undermine the Social Security safety net and disproportionately harm women and minorities. Social Security – the guaranteed foundation for most seniors’ retirement – must be strengthened, not whittled away.

The Social Security reform plan that President Bush is promoting would exacerbate those problems by diverting one-third of a worker’s Social Security contributions to private accounts. The result would be lower guaranteed benefits for ALL future retirees, regardless of whether they open individual private accounts. Lower benefits would cause great harm to women, who are much more likely than men to depend on Social Security’s guaranteed benefits to avoid poverty.

See also:
National Partnership for Women and Families: Social Security Page